After a few days of wide usage and following complaints that it is not accurate, the “swine flu” term now appears as “H1N1 virus,” thus making some editors (especially headline writers) and reporters unhappy with the rebranded, clinical-sounding virus, notes Grumpy Editor.
Full name now is Influenza A H1N1 virus.
However, many print and broadcast media (including Associated Press) stories today continue to use "swine flu." In some print cases, both old and new terms appear on the same page.
Pressure from Washington officials, especially the agriculture department, and the pork industry is behind the name change because "swine flu" implies a problem with pork products and pigs.
Officials now maintain the current in-the-news virus is not carried in pigs and therefore is not in any pork products.
Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports no evidence has been found that indicates the virus stems from contact with pigs, pointing out H1N1 is a respiratory health issue and is in no way transmitted by food products.
The link to pigs this week scared several nations to halt imports of U.S. pork products.
That action and less buying of pork products in U.S. supermarkets irk hog farmers and pork purveyors, as they see hog prices drop --- when they should be rising in the spring --- with the heightened print and broadcast news coverage of “swine flu.”
Perry, Iowa, hog farmer Francis Gilmore, stirred up by the crisis that could ruin his operation, declares: “Where they got the name, I just don’t know.”
National Pork Producers Council spokesman Dave Warner, also nixes the “swine flu” term. “It is an unfortunate use of words,” he comments. “To call it ‘swine flu’ is a little bit misleading.”
The European Union’s health commissioner earlier suggested the virus be renamed “novel flu.”
But then, book stores and publishers probably would become angry.